Thursday, March 5, 2015

MAT KEARNEY’S JUST KIDS LANDS IN THE TOP 20 ON BILLBOARD’S TOP 200 AND NO. 2 ON THE CHRISTIAN CHART

Los Angeles, Calif. (March 5, 2015)—Mat Kearney has delivered another landmark album with his latest release Just Kids through Inpop/Republic/Aware Records. His fifth studio album debuted in the Top 20 on Billboard’s Top 200 and took the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s Christian Chart.

In conjunction with the release, Mat’s recently performed his current single “Billion” on the Today show and graced the cover of CCM’s March issue, available now.

As fans have been showing their support of Just Kids, critics also are sharing their excitement of Kearney’s work: 

“If Just Kids proves anything, it is that Kearney is still crafting albums that are unrelenting in their charisma.” –Absolutepunk.net

“Mat Kearney delivers nostalgia perfection on Just Kids. His lyrics are intimate, his emotions are infectious and his feel-good pop will make you dance.”-NewReleaseTuesday.com
 
“Lyrical depth, clever production, and Kearney's impeccable sense of melody and hook all combine to make Just Kids an excellent example of a pop album done the right way, and it may be Kearney's best work since he first burst onto the scene.”- JesusFreakHideout.com

“Experimenting with a cacophony of sounds from 80s-pop to rustic folk to contemporary EDM to 90s-soul-rap, there isn't a dull moment on this record.  And to add further zest to already a spicy record are the vivid images and picturesque descriptions.  All of these thus make Just Kids a gorgeous three-dimensional sonic autobiography.”-Hallels.com
 
Just Kids is the follow up album to his 2011′s Young Love record that debuted at #1 on the Billboard Digital Chart and #4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Known for ubiquitous anthems such as “Nothing Left to Lose”, “Hey Mama”, and “Ships in the Night”, with over a million albums sold, his music has been featured in countless television shows and films ranging from Soul Surfer and Parenthood to The CloserNCIS30 Rock, and Vampire Diaries. His 2006 major label debut Nothing Left to Lose has sold over 450,000 copies, while 2009’s City of Black & White hit #13 on the Billboard Top 200. In between it all, he supported everybody from John Mayer to Keane on the road.
 
For more information on Mat Kearney, visit www.matkearney.com
InPop Records: http://www.inpop.com/
Facebook/Twitter: @matkearney
 
About Inpop:
Inpop Records is an independent entertainment company based in Nashville, TN and home to some of today's most vibrant artists and brands. Distributed by Capital Christian Music Group, Inpop is passionate about using music and film to inspire popular culture.  Inpop's roster includes Mat Kearney, V.Rose, Newsboys, The God's Not Dead Soundtrack, Superchick and the Four Blood Moons Soundtrack.  Visit us online at www.inpop.com. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Then Sings My Soul by Amy Sorrells - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Then Sings My Soul
David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)
by
Amy Sorrells


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three boys and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana. After writing and editing for her college newspaper, she combined a nursing degree with journalism and creative writing, which led to publishing and editing a wide array of medical and nursing writing and multimedia projects over the past 21 years, a position as director of communications of her church’s children’s ministry, as well as a weekly column for a local newspaper which ran from 2009-2012. She has been a two-time semi-finalist for the ACFW Genesis awards, and was the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

When she’s not reading or writing, Amy loves spending time with her three sons; spicy lunches and art gallery walks with her husband; digging in her garden sans gloves; walking her dogs; up-cycling old furniture and junk; photography; and friends.


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Nel Stewart returns home due to the sudden death of her mother, she realizes her beloved father, Jakob, is struggling with dementia. With the reappearance of a high-school sweetheart, deliveries from Ukraine addressed to her, and the discovery of a mysterious, vintage aquamarine gemstone, Nel senses God is pulling her into the past to restore their faith and their futures. Told partially through Jakob's flashbacks of fleeing genocide-ridden eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel combines elements of mystery, history, faith and romance to reveal how God redeems the broken years ... and our future.



My Thoughts:
Say it…Say it always.  The words in you head will help the truth return to your heart…” (p. 217)

What faith Peter has as he speaks these words to his brother Jakob.   What great faith!  Then Sings My Soul is a tender story of great, longsuffering, victorious faith.  Amy Sorrells gives a glimpse into what our lives must look like from eternity’s perspective.  Jakob and Peter’s story is interwoven with Nel’s present day experience of caring for an aging parent.  I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book that so poignantly captures every single stage of a person’s life-experience.  I feel like I’ve caught just a glimpse of God’s longsuffering toward His children as we struggle through this life on earth – and how He so tenderly woos us all along the way  - through the love of others.

Truly, I haven’t wept like this over a story in a while!  It is absolutely amazing!  It is timeless….it’s relevant…and it reflects the loving grace of our Heavenly Father in such a personal way!  All of the lives in this story are broken….mended…broken again…mended….and it all comes together so naturally, so beautifully that you will be left with an aching heart that understands what a great love we are loved with when we know Yeshua Messiah.


Go…read this book…and rejoice!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Then Sings My Soul, go HERE.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock - REVEIWED


About the Book:
Holly Cramer's past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.

Though Holly's stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily's father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family---she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he's a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.

Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller-the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he's innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can't trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.

Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.

My Thoughts:
He’s not like this.  He’s a good boy at heart.  He just took a wrong turn.”  (p.132)

Holly Cramer’s sister heard her own voice reflected in the statement made by Creed Kershaw’s parent.  Although they were concerned that their son was about to be charged with murder, their love for and belief in him were unwavering.  Holly had made wrong choices too, and she was now a single parent trying to turn her life around.  Was God’s grace really big enough to give her a second chance?  Did God’s grace reach far enough for Creed too?

Terri Blackstock can weave crime and grace into an irresistible combination, and she does a great job representing both sides of a very diverse coin in her latest novel, Twisted Innocence.  How does a hero wind up behind bars while a murderer walks free?  How can two wounded, broken lives team up to make a difference in the lives of others?  God’s grace has a lot to do with all of that as this story unfolds at a heart-pounding pace!  There are a lot of close calls and a lot of twists and turns from first page to last, so hand on for the ride!


I’ve been reading Terri’s work for decades, and Twisted Innocence is a stellar addition to her titles!  I am happy to recommend this to everyone!

Buy your copy HERE today!

About the Author:
Terri Blackstock 
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times best-selling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

Friday, February 27, 2015

Unbound by J.B. Simmons - REVIEWED


About the BookElijah Goldsmith has nightmares he needs to ignore. Why would a rich kid from Manhattan dream three straight nights about a dragon and the destruction of St. Peter’s Basilica? He’s never even been to Rome. 

It’s bad timing, too. He’s graduating soon and applying to be a spy in the International Security Agency. That’s where he meets Naomi. She’s the kind of girl who makes boys like Elijah want to share their secrets. Were they brought together to learn what his secrets mean? There’s more to their sparks than they think. 

This is 2066, the year the world ends.

My Thoughts:
“ Each one was like a door with a dream behind it.  I did not want to walk through any more doors like that.” (p. 285)

If I were Elijah Goldsmith, I think I’d pray to stay awake the rest of my life!  This guy has a really active dream life!  But I’m ahead of myself.  Unbound is a futuristic blend of real life, prophecy, and spiritual warfare that is complex and very entertaining!  Definitely action-packed, but built around very likable, believable characters.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I followed every plot twist exactly.  This particular genre is not my forte by any means.  But I was utterly fascinated.  The characters were younger than I expected, but their actions and reactions to all that happened to them seemed much more mature.  There is also a lot of secrecy and duplicity that I was unable to unravel.


It’s a good thing this is the first in a trilogy!  I have two more books to figure out who belongs to which side of the conflict!  This is a book that grabs you and doesn’t let go!  Be warned!  You may lose sleep.

About the Author:
J.B. Simmons writes thrillers with an apocalyptic twist, and political philosophy clothed in fantasy. His latest novel, Unbound, tells the story of a rich kid from Manhattan with nightmares of a dragon and the world ending in 2066.

J.B. lives outside Washington, DC, with his wife, two toddlers, and an intriguing day job. He writes before dawn and runs all day. 
Learn more at jbsimmons.com.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seek and Hide by Amanda Stevens - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Seek and Hide
David C. Cook (September 15, 2014)
by
Amanda Stevens


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn. Amanda's first novel, Seek and Hide, will be available September 15, 2014 from David C Cook.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment--including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent. Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she's targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she'd never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help. When Aubrey and Marcus's lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus's life in a way he'd never expect, turning a loner into a leader.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Seek and Hide, go HERE.



My Thoughts:
God, is that what I’m doing? Paying for…everything?”  (p.398)

At the point Marcus Brenner whispers this prayer to God, he has been through some very fiery trials that have left him doubting and empty.  He has struggled against the government’s  “thought police” – the Constabulary – not realizing that his own efforts would never be enough.  The Bible has been banned – other than the government’s re-translated version -  and true believers are being arrested and taken to re-education camps.  Marcus has been called to rise against this movement to obliterate Christianity.

Except Marcus is sometimes too busy battling his own weakness to remain effective in the fight.  Until he asks himself this very probing question.  Sound familiar?  It is a struggle I’m all too familiar with.  Trying to look for ways to convince myself that I’m unworthy to fight in the war God has equipped me to fight in.  Thus making myself ineffective.  I think it’s a struggle for all believer’s at some point, and that’s what makes the characters and their trials so meaningful.  We can all relate to one or more of their struggles.

I think the point is to never give up.  Accept God’s grace and live to fight another day.  Don’t become our own worst enemy.  That was my take away from this very unique book.  It’s not such a far stretch to imagine something like a Constabulary.  It’s not hard to imagine the duplicity and discernment needed to fight such an insidious evil.  And it begs the question Marcus asks himself:  “God, is that what I’m doing?  Paying for….everything?”  Instead of accepting that Jesus’ death was sufficient and that God’s grace is sufficient.


This is a very unique and thought-provoking book.  The tension and intensity of the plot build gradually, and you are allowed time to know and care for the characters.  This is a book I’m pleased to recommend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Best-Selling Author and Filmmaker Joe Amaral Examines the Heavens in New Documentary, “Story in the Stars”

(TORONTO, Ontario) -- From bestselling author and award-winning filmmaker, Joe Amaral, comes the new documentary, “Story in the Stars,” to be released on March 2nd in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack.

Since the beginning of time man has wondered, what’s up there, who put it there and why. After an intense dream during the cold Canadian winter of 2012, Amaral decided to look up the images he had seen: a woman in the heavens, a looming dragon and millions of stars.

“These images eventually led me to Revelation 12,” says Amaral. “It was exactly as I had seen them in my dream. Over two thousand years ago, the apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, was on the island of Patmos. It would have been pitch black with zero light pollution, and the stars would literally have been popping out of the night sky. After some fierce study and comparison, I realized that the images that John was describing in the book of Revelation, perfectly lined up with the constellations in the sky. This led me to search out the Scriptures for other evidence that God was the source and the root of the constellations.”

After years of careful study and analysis, Amaral reached the conclusion that each of the twelve zodiacs were created and positioned by God to tell the greatest story ever told, and He wrote it in the stars.

“Story in the Stars” uses biblical, historical and scientific knowledge to reveal how each constellation actually points us back to Jesus, and that the message of salvation is written in the stars for all of mankind to see. This is presented in a way that Amaral believes is not only eye-opening for Christians, but also for people who need to be free from the ties of horoscopes and astrology. 

“Instead of looking to the stars for direction, we can look to the One who made those stars,” says Amaral. “For God so loved the world that He designed the universe to reveal the plan of salvation in the stars.” 

Watch the official trailer here: http://youtu.be/WedFFJLHPXI

Visit the official website here: http://www.storyinthestars.com

ABOUT JOE AMARAL
Joe Amaral is a pastor and itinerant teacher who travels and speaks internationally, teaching on the Hebraic Roots of Christianity for over 12 years. He has his own syndicated television program (“First Century Foundations”) and is the best-selling author of “Understanding Jesus” and “What Would Jesus Read,” both from FaithWords. Amaral has produced several teaching series and documentaries, and his latest project, “Story in the Stars,” combines his love of astronomy with his faith in new and thought-provoking ways. Amaral is available to speak at churches and events.

Follow Joe Amaral:
facebook.com/joeamaralpublic
twitter.com/joeamaraltweet



Monday, February 23, 2015

Lift the Flap Bible - Reviewed


About the Book:
What's under the flaps? Find out in this collection of eight very simple Bible stories in a large cased board book format. Each story is told across a double-page spread and there are flaps on every page. Bright, quirky illustrations full of wit and color from Louise Anglicas are perfect for this engaging introduction to Bible stories.

Stories are: Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Bulrushes, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Great Fish, Born in a Stable, Boy with Loaves and Fishes, The Lost Sheep, and Man Lowered Through the Roof.

My Thoughts: 
Lift the Flap Bible has a target audience of 10+ months.  I think this will make a great teaching tool for parents who want to introduce their child to the Bible.  The stories selected are ones that highlight God’s power and love for His creation.  The flaps cover elemental parts of the story, and will not confuse any child.  Rather, what is uncovered will reveal a slightly more detailed truth. 

I was and remain a huge advocate of reading to infants from the womb and throughout every phase of their growth!  Lift the flap books were a key ingredient in the lives of my own children, and now, as adults, they are avid readers! 

The pictures and concepts in this book and clear, colorful and easy to grasp.  Each page will engage without overwhelming the child, and will leave opportunities for discussion for months as the child grows in understanding.  This book allows the parent to fulfill God’s command to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  This is a win-win book for both parents and children!

About the Author:
Karen Williamson worked as a London primary school teacher and publisher’s editor before launching a successful career as a full-time writer. With three children of her own, she specializes in Bible stories for young readers. 

About the Illustrator:
 Louise Anglicas holds a degree in Ceramics and Surface Design from Staffordshire University. Working as a designer, she was instrumental in securing the Harry Potter license for a local ceramic manufacturer! She applies her love of pattern and design to the world of children’s illustration.